It’s no secret that, as women, we want to look young. Beauty is an over $400 billion a year industry, with companies like L’Oreal enticing us to spend a little more money on goods promised to restore our youthful appearance, “because we’re worth it.”
The good news is, while you should definitely invest in yourself and make a conscious effort to maintain your body, you don’t need pricey products to do so! The most effective anti-aging techniques are small habits that we can put into place now to counteract the stress and inevitable physical toll of our daily lives.
So to help you stay looking luminous well into your golden years, we’ve compiled a list of 5 simple ways we age ourselves every day. Avoid these terrible tendencies to see a rapid halt in your aging process.
1. Not wearing sunscreen
We all know that sunscreen is a must while tanning, but we underestimate its benefits in our everyday lives. Research has shown that regular, daily use of sunscreen can significantly slow the process of skin aging in men and women under 55. To be effective, you must apply sunscreen thoroughly and be sure to reapply every few hours as it wears off with water or sweat.
More and more, companies are incorporating SPF into their products. Opt for SPF coverage whenever possible, even if you think you don’t need it or live in an area that doesn’t receive much sunshine. If nothing else, it will keep you looking young and may have the added benefit of deterring malignant skin conditions in the future. That’s a win/win.
A diet that is high in sugar and processed carbohydrates can deplete your skin of collagen, causing inflammation, wrinkles and sagging. Typically, the effects of an unhealthy diet are first seen around age 35 and get worse with time.
While eating out is an important part of our social culture as Americans, more often than not we don’t eat healthy at restaurants. For instance, Red Robin’s “Monster Burger Meal” recently won first place in The Center for Public Science’s 2014 Xtreme Eating Awards, coming in at 3,540 calories in just one sitting. Granted, this is the grand-daddy of all unhealthy dinner options and serves as an extreme example, but other popular restaurants were not far off, with most plates on the list easily surpassing 2,000 calories.
Opt for a home cooked meal instead—your body will thank you for it later.
3. Not drinking enough water
If you’re dehydrated, your body will pull water from your skin and epidermal tissue, leading to a loss of elasticity and overall sunken look. You’ll also likely be tired, fatigued, and experience headaches.
We also have a tendency to snack because we think we’re hungry when in fact our body is simply in need of more water. While intake recommendations vary depending on gender and weight, you should be aiming for anywhere from 9-13 cups of water a day, at a minimum.
Water makes up 60% of your body weight. Take the time to nourish yourself with this essential element and you’ll be surprised to see years come off your face in return.
4. Getting bad sleep
Scientists recommend getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, and most of us aim for that goal. But how rested are we really? Many times, we have so many distractions that we aren’t able to get meaningful sleep as a result. The things that keep us from getting a good night’s sleep can range from children to sounds of the urban landscape to the television set, but the outcome is the same—accelerated aging. Skin rejuvenation works best at night, and poor sleep prevents the secretion of melatonin, a natural antioxidant, causing us to literally age overnight.
Also, sleeping on unyielding fabrics for long periods of time can cause fine lines and wrinkles. Be sure to sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase if you want to prolong your youthful appearance.
5. Not taking off your makeup at night
A recent experiment by a mother in the UK showed that not taking off your makeup at night can age you by a decade. Like many of us, she was a busy woman who figured make-up removal came last on her list of daily priorities and never really appreciated how much damage occurs when we sleep with our makeup on.
Turns out, quite a bit.
After going to sleep with her makeup on every day for a month, she experienced extreme aging attributable to dry spots, brittle eyelashes, breakouts, bigger pores, and deepened wrinkles.
Your skin needs to breathe, something it can’t do if it’s buried under layers of makeup day after day. Make sure you remove all your makeup at night and cleanse your face before bed, if only to avoid looking like the Crypt Keeper in the morning.
Make a conscious effort to eliminate these 5 bad habits from your daily routine and you’ll be that much closer to staying young and beautiful for years to come!